The presence of a sanctuary of Asclepius on the slopes of Athens’ Acropolis has been a subject of discussion for many years. Scholars knew there was such a building but till now it could not be located.
The first temple dates from 420-419 BC and a second one was built right on top of it at some time during the first century BC, probably after 86 BC.
It has been a painstaking business of shifting through piles of stones till it was established that they somehow belonged together. After handling and taking inventory for five years or so, it was only in 2011 that the first hints were found among 450 pertinent blocks. Two stones from a corner were matching the foundations. After that is what relatively easy to determine that all remaining blocks belonged to the sanctuary since they were made of the same type of marble and had the same design. Unfortunately, over the centuries, many stones have been re-used in other constructions and it is not easy to identify them.
The temple which archeologists are aiming to restore is the second sanctuary that will, however, include later repairs and expansions from the third century AD, i.e. after the thorough destruction of Athens by the Herulians in 267 AD. In a first stage, they hope to reconstruct the base of the walls of the sanctuary by the end of 2016.
It will be a huge challenge to puzzle together the many buildings that crowded the foot of the Acropolis over eons past.